As we go into a new year, I have a resolution. I’m going to speak up more when men do things that make me uneasy.
Take the other day, for example.
I really like my neighbor. I also have no interest in dating him. It’s nothing against him, really. But I don’t know him well, and I’m not interested in dating anyone at the moment. (Men don’t believe that when I say it, but it’s true. And that isn’t some female code for “try harder.”)
I ran into my neighbor while coming home, and we stopped to chat. Before we parted, he touched the back of my neck and kind of massaged it for a second.
Not knowing what that meant, or what to do about it, I did nothing. I pretended it didn’t happen. Denial works, right?
A few days later I ran into him again. Again we chatted, and he massaged my neck for a second or two again. What?
Seriously, I would never, ever do that to someone I wasn’t dating. Why is he doing that?
He isn’t being aggressive, exactly. My neck isn’t an erogenous zone. He isn’t doing anything else. And I want to be friends with this guy. He’s a nice guy.
I don’t look forward to the awkward conversation when I tell him to knock it off. I don’t want to harm our friendship. That’s why I’ve said nothing.
But the truth is, this was how it started with the first man who sexually assaulted me back in college. It started out with just some unwanted touching. In that case, he held my hand.
There …read more